Basmala Sharif

Basmala Sharif



Gulnaz Mahboob

Artwork Title & Inspiration

'Basmala Sharif'

The ‘Basmala Sharif’ (Arabic: بسملة‎‎ basmala), also known by its incipit Bismillah (Arabic: بسم الله‎‎, ‘In the name of God’), is the name of the Islamic phrase b-ismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm ‘In the name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful’

The secret of adab lies in بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Artwork Category


Physical Description

Thuluth script Arabic calligraphy using Japanese black ink on ahar paper surrounded with a Russian green mount


35.5 x18.5 cm

Country of Origin


LOT 63

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Gulnaz Mahboob

Gulnaz Mahboob is a British master calligrapher and tutor residing in London, England.

She began her training in Islamic calligraphy in 2005 in Istanbul where she started a classical apprenticeship under the world renowned Turkish grand master calligrapher Hasan Çelebi

Her training involved an intense apprenticeship of working closely with her master, spending many hours of observing physical instruction, writing repetitive practices, studying manuscripts and work by Ottoman master calligraphers and experimenting with materials. With the permission of her master she was also able to benefit from attending lessons by other leading master calligraphers.

After 7 years of both part and full-time study, in 2011 she was awarded the Icazet Name (the international calligraphy authorisation) in Thuluth and Nesih scripts, which certified her officially as both a calligrapher and a teacher.

Having received her Icazet she has become part of a continuum of more than 10 centuries of calligraphic tradition and is thus a transmitter of this living tradition in the UK.

She holds an MA in Social Anthropology from SOAS, University of London and a BA in Communication Studies with Graphic Arts & Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University. Prior to becoming a calligrapher Gulnaz worked in the private sector as a Research & Policy Consultant for an engineering consultancy firm and later as an Independent Consultant.

Gulnaz's background in anthropology offers a fresh perspective on the dynamic bond that is established between the student, the master, the letters and the repetitive practices of Islamic calligraphy.

Artwork photography courtesy of Tom Gowanlock and videography by Fatima Niazy and Syed Gilani Mustafa.